Red Hat Claims Leadership

Counting Linux users is no easy task since there is typically no requirement for users to register their installations. Yet Linux distributions do try and count users in an attempt to quantify their user base and relative footprint in the operating systems space.

Red Hat’s Fedora community Linux distribution has now tallied its user base, and it’s a number that on the surface would make it the largest installed base of any Linux distribution, with at least 9.5 million users and possibly as many as 10.5 million. Fedora competitor Ubuntu Linux currently claims to have 8 million users.

“The total number of users has always been an incredibly difficult number to measure,” Paul Frields, Fedora’s project leader, told “If you total up all the unique IP’s … on Fedora 7, 8 and 9, it adds up to about 9.5 million boxes right now.”

The Fedora figures come out as the major players in Linux continue jockeying for position as the dominant vendor in the space, while also competing to make inroads against proprietary software. The news also comes as Frields and his team and ramping up to deliver their release, Fedora 10.

The 9.5 million figure is spread across three separate Fedora releases, each of which shows different numbers. Frields tallied the numbers to be accurate as of Nov. 19th. Fedora 7 has nearly 3.4 million IPs, Fedora 8 release in has 3.9 million IPs, and the Fedora 9 release has nearly 1.8 million. Additionally, Fedora’s Rawhide release, which is its always-in-development build, reported nearly 500,000 unique IPs.

Frields is also optimistic that Fedora 10 will attract users because of timing. He said that Fedora Core 6 had been used by many users to preview technology before it ended up in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 release.

Now, Red Hat is currently gearing up for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.

“At Red Hat, we’re looking at how the Fedora development will impact development of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6,” Frields said. “So people interested in the enterprise product will want to be looking at Fedora 10.”


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